This September as teachers and students stock up on school supplies, the Department of Health has tips for avoiding chemicals that trigger asthma and allergies.
Is there a quick reference list teachers can use for healthy school supplies?
YES! items can have an impact on the health and safety of students in the classroom. Commonly used supplies can contain chemicals that trigger asthma and allergies in students. Below are options for safe supply list choices that will help to provide a healthier classroom environment.
My school is small, so classroom teachers are responsible for keeping their own spaces clean. Can you recommend best practices for this?
Review the DOH ‘Classroom Cleaning Tips’ below and know your effort to keep a healthy, clean classroom has a big effect on:
Classroom Cleaning Tips for Teachers
Teach Good Handwashing Habits
The number one way to keep germs from spreading is to teach good handwashing. Use plain soap and water for handwashing before eating, after using the bathroom, after recess, and anytime they get dirty. Antibacterial soap isn’t recommended. Use plain fragrance-free soap.
When there is no access to a sink, as on a field trip, alcohol-based (at least 60% alcohol, dye-free and fragrance-free) hand sanitizer or alcohol-based sanitizer wipes can be used. Hand sanitizers are not a substitute for handwashing. They aren’t effective when hands are dirty or greasy.
Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting
Know the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting. Use the right product for the task:
In schools, custodial staff use disinfectants and sanitizers regularly only in high-risk areas – nurse’s office, bathrooms, cafeterias, kitchens, drinking fountains, sink and door handles, and athletic facilities; preferably, when students are not present. Overuse does not provide any additional protection and can expose students and staff to harmful chemicals.
Students should never use disinfectants. Disinfectant wipes shouldn’t be used to clean hands. This includes Clorox wipes.
If students are helping to clean:
Rely on Cleaning to Remove Dirt and Germs
If staff, besides trained custodial staff, needs to assist with classroom cleaning, they should use a school or district provided basic cleaner. A third party certified green cleaner is preferred.